news National broadband provider TPG has launched a new, $69.99 ‘Unlimited’ ADSL2+ plan in response to a Federal Court ruling last week its previous $29.99 ‘Unlimited’ plan was misleading as it didn’t obviously disclose the additional $30 of required line rental costs.
The case was filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in December last year, with the regulator claiming TPG’s $29.95 ‘Unlimited’ ADSL2+ plan actually cost a great deal more. Last week, according to the Herald Sun, Justice Bernard Murphy found advertisements for the plan misleading, but had not yet fixed on a penalty for the issue.
However, in a post on broadband forum yesterday, TPG revealed it would take immediate action, changing the way it labels its Unlimited broadband plan publicly.
“TPG has recently introduced our most amazing ADSL2+ bundle,” company representative Joseph D wrote. The plan contains most of the elements of the previous $29.99 plan — an unlimited quota, home phone line rental, unlimited local and ‘standard’ national calls. It comes with a Netcomm W-Fi router and is also available over a 24 month contract for new customers only. However, the calling option can be removed, which brings the price down by $10 per month, for a total cost of $59.99. Setup fees are $79.95.
One customer asked why existing TPG customers wouldn’t be able to access the plan, and was told by another TPG representative that it would take 10 days — without any home phone or broadband connected — for their landline connection to be moved across.
“That’s unfortunately unavoidable due to the changes and physical movement that are about to take place when you subscribe with this service,” the TPG spokesperson said. It is believed the time gap occurs because TPG prefers customers using its Unlimited plans to be using the company’s own ADSL infrastructure in telephone exchanges. The company offers a range of less desirable plans for those who are using Telstra’s ADSL infrastructure via a wholesale arrangement.
Well nobody can accuse TPG of being a complicated company. When it was ordered to, the company merely re-badged its previous $29.99 ‘Unlimited’ plan into a new $69.99 plan and modified it slightly to suit its new existence. It’s all so predictable. The company gets sued. It resists. Then it complies with pretty much the letter of the law — but no more.
One does wonder whether this will have any impact on TPG’s market share. The company is known as a discount carrier, but its advertisements will have a much lower impact on consumers now that they won’t feature the $29.99 for ‘Unlimited’ deal that has gotten TPG so far.
It’s interesting to note that that other major low-cost carrier, Dodo, currently displays its own bundled prices very clearly and carefully on its web site, no doubt being a little bit cautious in the face of obvious ACCC interest in the area. It too has its $29.95 ‘Unlimited’ plan price; but next to that is the ‘Bundle’ price. I’m sure there will be a bit of thought going on this week over at Dodo as the company thinks through what, if any, implications the TPG judgement will have for its own advertising.
Update: We’ve received the following statement from TPG:
- New $69.99 deal was released 3 November,1 day before court ruling
- This 69.99 plan includes a WiFi Modem, Unlimited Local Calls, National Calls and 100 International Minutes together with the Unlimited and line rental
- Customers can still purchase the old $59.99 bundle (29.99 +30) on a 6 or 18 months contract- we have not taken this deal away- If you look at our plan pricing page we have always allowed customers to choose, they decide on the different Access, and Call options www.tpg.com.au/superchat. With the latest consumer deal we added a deal representing heaps more value for new customers to choose it they want.
Other facts: We can offer the Local and National voice because we have one of the largest voice networks in the country, we are in 65 of the 66 Call Collection Areas. The new 69.99 [plan] is a 24 month contract.
Image credit: TPG